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Annie E. Casey Foundation: Latinos have highest teen pregnancy, dropout rates

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 17, 2007

2007 Kids Count Data Book 

2007 Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book

Photo:  Annie E. Casey Foundation

According to the recently released 2007 Annie E. Casey Foundation annual national Kids Count Data Book, Hispanic teens are the most likely to become pregnant and drop out of school. In 2005, Latino teenagers were more than twice as likely as non Hispanic whites to drop out. While 6 percent of non Hispanic whites between 16 and 19 dropped out, 14 percent of Latinos in the same age group left school.

In 2004, Latino girls 15 to 19 were more than three times as likely to become pregnant than non Hispanic white girls of the same age. The teen birth rate among Latinas was 83 for every 1,000 girls compared to 26 births for every 1,000 non Hispanic white girls.

The good news is that these indicators have been moving in the right direction for Hispanic teens. The Hispanic teen birth rate dropped 5 percent since 2000 and the Hispanic high school drop out rate dropped 31 percent since 2000.

“Unfortunately, the percent of Hispanic teens who are high school dropouts and the teen birth rate for Hispanic teens has consistently been the highest among the racial and ethnic groups we look at in our report over the last several years,” said Laura Beavers, research associate, Kids Count. “One exception was that in 2000, the high school dropout rate for American Indian teens was slightly higher than for Hispanic teens.”

This year, for the first time since 1990, the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) annual national Kids Count Data Book includes data on children living in Puerto Rico in a separate section of the book. According to Foundation findings, children in Puerto Rico face higher levels of risk on nine of ten key indicators of child well-being.

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“The Kids Count Data Book is the gold standard for all those interested in data on the status of children in this country. The inclusion of Puerto Rico not only is a welcome and much-needed addition, but also will ensure that the urgent needs of Puerto Rico’s children are taken more fully into account,” stated Janet Murguía, president and chief executive officer, National Council of La Raza.                

The National Council of La Raza has housed the Kids Count Puerto Rico Project for the last five years. The organization published several reports and provided free information through an online database.

According to the 192-page report, in 2005, there were one million children in Puerto Rico. This represents a larger child population than that of about half the states in the United States. Puerto Rico’s child poverty rate, 55 percent, was nearly three times that of the U.S.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private charitable organization, dedicated to fostering public policies, human services reforms, and community supports to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families.  The 2007 Kids Count Data Book is available online and can be ordered free of charge.